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Life of Pi - Yann Martel

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Author: Yann Martel / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 17 May 2003 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd / Title: Life of Pi / ISBN 13: 9781841953922 / ISBN 10: 1841953922

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      07.10.2013 12:54
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      A book for the soul.

      I had fairly recently watched Life of Pi in film format, and although a lot of people rave about it, I found that it was somewhat lacking for me. However, I couldn't help but feel that I was missing something. On my last trip to the library, I found a copy of the novel and I thought I would give the story another try. The version I have just read has an updated cover that looks like the poster from the movie. It features a Tigers head in the background, and then a smaller picture of a boat with a boy and a tiger in it. I recognise the boy as the actor I saw in the film.

      The book is very appealing to look at, and I chose this as the first book to read from the options I had chosen. I found the book to have a very interesting format. It has chapters, but the whole book has been written to fit into 100 chapters - some of these chapters are as short as half a page of text, although each chapter seems quite true to my knowledge of writing structure. We alternate in places between the man Pi Patel telling the story, and the author who is interviewing him giving his observations and impressions of the man.

      Pi Patel now lives in Canada - but as a boy, he grew up in India. When he was 16, his family decided to emigrate to Canada aboard a ship. They had owned a Zoo in India, and were transporting some of the animals with them to Canada. Part way through their boat journey, their boat was sunk at sea, and the only survivors are Pi and a Bengal tiger with the name Richard Parker.

      What follows is an extraordinary story of how Pi and the tiger both manage to survive aboard a tiny life boat for hundreds of days in the Pacific Ocean. A story that is profound and moving.

      As a film, I liked the story, but I didn't feel that I always knew what was happening, or why it was happening. I got a bit impatient seeing the boat journey, and I was not sure how well I would enjoy reading the story knowing how it would end.

      Firstly, I do think the film makers did a very good job at transferring this into something that could be shown on the big screen. They did manage to convey some of the story, and they did stick quite closely to the narrative in the book with one or two exceptions, but I didn't appreciate the hardship of someone being shipwrecked half as much in this visual manner.

      In the film, it is touched upon that Pi is a very religious boy who has studied and practiced many faiths in his short life. However, I then didn't find that I felt much religion in the rest of the film. However, in the book, I truly appreciated what hardship the pair were going through. How the boy has to overcome every principle he has ever believed in such as being a vegetarian, and although he still doesn't agree with what he has to do to survive, if the choice is to ignore your guiding principles or die, you would probably do exactly what Pi did. It was much clearer for me in the book that the boy's religious education and belief did help him to be mentally tough to survive the ordeal, and every action was deliberated on and explained, so I knew exactly what his motivations were.

      Although sometimes having a lot of description can be irritating to the flow of a book, here, I felt it was pretty necessary with it being almost a monologue for most of the story. It was also done so well with each word feeling carefully placed with thought about what it meant.

      This book is an exquisite work of fiction. I liked the religious leaning in it as it was sensitively covered and not too overpowering to the flow of the story - in fact, it enhanced it in my opinion. It is quite a thought provoking read, and beautiful story. I am glad that I came across it in both written and cinematic version - I just wish I had read the book first as it would have added so much more to what I have seen on screen.

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        18.06.2013 14:18
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        I will be reading this again, and I don't often re-read books!

        'If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?'

        PLOT

        The story is told in the past tense, through the protagonist, Piscine Molitor Patel aka Pi. In the first section of the book, Pi reminisces about his life as a 16 year old boy, living with his family in Pondicherry, India. In this section, we learn the reason behind Pi's unusual name, and that his family own a Zoo. Pi is a very religious boy, not settling for just one religion. He wants to worship God in as many ways as he can, converting to one religion after another. Changes in the Indian Government cause the family to move their Zoo to Canada, leading to the second part of the book; the journey of Pi and his family on the Tsimtsum, a Japanese Freight Ship.

        After a bad storm at sea, the Ship sinks, leaving Pi as the only survivor, in a life boat with a Hyena, a Zebra, and an Orangutan. The Hyena soon kills the Zebra and the Orangutan, and Pi soon discovers another animal companion on the boat, when a 450 pound Bengal Tiger, named Richard Parker, emerges from the boat's tarpaulin, and kills the Hyena. Having to share the life boat with a dangerous predator, Pi makes a raft and attaches it to the life boat. It soon becomes too dangerous to stay on the raft, and he must find a way to share the boat with the Tiger.

        Pi must find a way to survive being shipwrecked, and to avoid being eaten by Richard Parker, who grows more starving every day. Will Pi survive, and find his way to land, or will the tragedy of losing his family, prove too much to take, and cause him to stop fighting for his life?

        MY OPINION

        This book is definitely one of my favourite this year. In the first few pages, I did find it fairly difficult to get into. But sticking to this book proved to be worth it; as the story really got moving, I found myself falling in love with Pi's story, feeling his heartache at losing his whole family, and his whole life, in just one night. It just proves how quickly your life can change. One minute, you're with your family on the way to begin a new life in a new country, and the next, you're the only survivor of a shipwreck, fearing for your life, and sharing your small life boat with a 450 pound Bengal Tiger.

        Pi's spirit and faith is truly inspiring. Despite his tragedy, his faith still stays strong. Although losing everything in the blink of an eye could cause him to lose faith in God, he's strong enough to stick to his beliefs, fight to survive, and keep his memories of his family alive. Although I'm not a religious person, I respected the way that Pi stuck to what he believes in, and used it to find strength to carry on.

        I thought that this story was truly beautiful and inspiring, and it's not surprising that this book was declared an instant classic. It deserves this status 100%, as well as the Man Booker Prize that it achieved.
        The story is very religious, but, as I have proved, somebody that isn't religious can still enjoy it for the work of art that it is.

        THE AUTHOR

        This book was written by Yann Martel, a Canadian Author, who is best known for Life of Pi. Life of Pi was published in 2001, and is Martel's fourth book, with 'Seven stories', 'The facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios', and 'Self' coming before. In 2010, Martel received a letter from Barack Obama, describing Life of Pi as 'an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.' Martel is a fantastic Author, which he has proven with Life of Pi, which has also been made into an award winning film. I recommend this book to anybody looking for a fantastic story of hope, determination, and faith.

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          06.01.2013 13:17
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          A truly captivating book which I strongly recommend.

          Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi, is a sixteen year old boy sailing from his home in India to his new home in Canada on the cargo ship Tsimtsum along with his brother Ravi, parents and a collection of his Father's zoo animals which are to be sold in America. As expected, Pi isn't overly fond of the idea of moving to a completely new and different country, leaving everything and everyone he knows and loves behind would be no easy challenge but this soon becomes in the least of his worries. On July 7th 1977 the Tsimtsum ship sinks leaving Pi the only human survivor on a life boat floating on the Pacific Ocean. He isn't entirely alone though. He does have a zebra with a broken leg, a hyena, a female orang-utan and a male Bengal tiger for company. What follows is an epic tale of love, hope, brutality, death and faith.

          I have to admit I hadn't heard of this book until recently when the advertisements for the film adaptation were popping up left, right and centre. The story line appealed to me greatly and I wasted no time in downloading the book onto my kindle before allowing myself to watch the film and I'm very glad I did so as Life of Pi really is the best book I've read in a long time, it's easy to see why this was the 2002 Man Booker Prize winning novel.

          The book is written in first person from the perspective of an all grown up Pi, the first hundred or so pages are a detailed account of his childhood growing up in a Zoo in Pondicherry, India. We learn how he got his unusual name and why he decided to re-brand himself as 'Pi', we discover his rather unusual choice of deciding to be a Hindu, Muslim and Christian, we learn of his idols and role models, his favourite animals and his relationships. At first it does seem like the book is taking an awful long time to 'kick in' with the main plot of the story, the sinking of the ship and the events which follow, not appearing until quite a way into the book. It soon becomes apparent, however, that these little details are important and they really help you as a reader develop a great fondness towards Pi. He's turned into a solid character quickly and is impossible not to like. Whilst this introduction may not be the most important part of the story line, the first part of the book is an enjoyable read all the same.

          When we do get to the ship sinking and Pi being on that life boat with his little collection of animals what follows is quite unexpected. To put it simply, it's a realistic account of what probably would happen if you were to find yourself in that position. Richard Parker, the 450 pound Bengal tiger becomes a solid character himself and is present for a lot of this story but he is never humanised. He always remains a tiger, an animal which could quite easily and possibly kill Pi at any given moment. Whilst Pi finds courage and hope through Richard Parker, there are no unrealistic scenes of cuddles during sleep or even much touching or talking between the two of any kind for that matter.

          The chapters are mostly short; this not only makes it extremely easy to sit reading the book well into the early hours of the morning (I kept telling myself one more chapter wouldn't hurt when I had to be up early for work the next day) but also creates quite a powerful narrative. One chapter is a mere sentence long, it is also possibly the most emotional sentence in the book which would have lost a lot of its power and meaning had it just been stuck in one of many paragraphs making up a more conventional chapter of a novel.

          Religion and faith are strong, prominent themes within this book. It doesn't ever feel like such beliefs are being forced down ones throat though. Yann Martel gives the impression that Pi is a very tolerant and open minded person in this subject and he conveys that perfectly in Pi's personal but never preachy references to god and religion.

          What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the way Martel gives so much detail about events and experiences which happened to Pi during his time on that life boat. These little and more than likely well researched details again just make the story so much more real and believable. Details which I feel many other authors would have probably deemed unimportant and not worth mentioning really make this book as good as it is.

          Life of Pi probably isn't for the faint hearted though. If you enjoy a light, easy read then this probably isn't for you. Death and killings are described in brutal detail as is pain and suffering both physical and mental. This is a book which will, on occasion, make you wince in horror and will always tug on your heart strings and be rather thought provoking.

          One criticism I would make is in the narrative. As mentioned, this book is written from the perspective of an adult Pi which does take the suspense away from the story a little as you know that, no matter what happens, Pi is obviously going to be okay. Having said that Martel does make up for that entirely by giving us a very unexpected ending which frankly has played on my mind since I finished the book!

          I would highly recommend Life of Pi to anyone who likes a 'deep' read. Whilst utterly awful events may happen Pi continues to show awe inspiring hope and faith and this certainly is a book which will have you constantly thinking and constantly reading. Life of Pi definitely gets five stars from me.

          Published by Canongate Books Ltd, 2002.
          ISBN - 978 0857865533
          Pages - 464
          Price - £6.29 from Amazon (from £3.52 new and £3.53 used) Kindle Edition 20p (bargain)!

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            05.08.2012 11:59
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            I challenge you to read this and say you don't like it.

            I was very late to pick up this book and read it. I missed the hype around it and all the awards it recieved, so I was able to read it from a non biased perspective and I am now so glad that I finally did.

            I became completely engrossed in this charming tale of Piscine 'Pi' and his journey across the Pacific Ocean with only one companion- a Bengal Tiger. Pi starts this book living in Pondicherry in India and is the son of a zoo keeper. Growing up he has learnt how to look after animals which equips him for his adventure in the latter part of the book. When the family decide to immagrate to Canada, there trip turns to tragedy when their ship sinks, the only survivor being Pi and a few animals from the zoo, one of which is a Bengal Tiger. The rest of the story is about Pi's survival with the Tiger (I will say no more about the plot for fear of spoiling it for you).

            The way this book is written is nothing but outstanding, you become Pi, you live his torment, his fears and excitement, as he narrates the story to you. As I read this intriguing tale I found his journey both believable and unbelievable and just couldn't comprehend how he could survive (being the narrator kind of gave this away) but this spurred me on more to read and find out. It has been a while since I have read a book that has engrossed me so much that I had to read 'just one more chapter' before going to bed.

            For me what really made this book a talking point was the ending, I have to say it hurt my head. To never find out which story is true is both frustrating and wonderful. To believe the animal story is to believe in god, to believe the unbelievable. This book has the power to make you question your beliefs and your view on life.

            The book is both witty and incredibly profound and is a must read for everyone. I feel this is what is so appealing about this book, you do not have to be some literary expert to read it, it appeals to the masses. It is down to the reader the depth at which they read it. It is a great option for a book club as it will provide some very thought provoking discussions, an excellent holiday read or just a book to tick off your must read list.

            I challenge anyone to read this and say they don't like it.

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              16.07.2012 22:37
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              A truly compelling read.

              When I got to University and discussed with friends as to our favourite books, everyone was shocked and appalled that I had never read Life of Pi. For my birthday present I received a copy of this book, and proceeded to read it, intruiged as to why so many people were recommending it. Quickly I realised why it was such a loved book. I was instantly drawn into the story, I found it truly captivating, wanting to continue reading. Rarely do I read a book which makes me sit up and read all night, but this made me do that. Even when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it and wishing that I had it in my hands. If you want a captivating and emotive book then this is definitely one to go for. It provokes a great plethora of emotions, at times laughter and at others tears. A must read, regardless of age!

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                04.12.2011 22:16
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                A must read

                Back in 2002, I was 16 and when I read The Life of Pi it was completely lost on me. I thought it was flippant, unbelievable, and a bit boring.

                Well, that's because 16 year old me was an idiot! When I re-read the novel this year, I was captivated from the faux-foreword on page 1. I laughed and cried as the narrative demanded; I was putty in Yann Martel's skilful hands.

                The story is of a young Indian boy named Piscine Molitor and nicknamed Pi. His father owns Pondicherry Zoo, and Pi and his brother have been brought up through the 70s working with the animals. When the political situation in India becomes tense, the family sell most of their animals, and head aboard a boat to Canada with the few remaining ones. On the way, the boat sinks and Pi finds himself aboard a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a hyena and a zebra. As the story is being told by an adult Pi to the author, we know he survives the journey - the question is, how?

                Although this novel is much deeper than it might first appear, on the surface it's an adventure story. It's the tale of how Pi survives and what tactics he uses to stay alive and sane for 227 long, lonely days. He has the animals to deal with, and he needs food, shelter and water. We follow Pi as he applies everything he ever learned about animals to the extreme situation he is in, and learns to use the survival equipment on board to help him. There are times when you're on the edge of the seat - even though you know he survives, you don't want Pi to come to any harm at all. Pi is a really likeable character, resourceful, warm and bright, and every time he does something on that boat all I could think was that as a teenager on a boat with a tiger, all I could have done was curl up in a corner and cry.

                Whilst Pi is recounting his early years growing up in the zoo, he introduces one of the main themes of the novel, which is faith. At fourteen, despite being born Hindu, Pi begins to embrace Islam and Christianity as well. His parents and religious leaders find this difficult to understand, but I loved the way Pi could use each religion to look at God and the world in different ways, and pick out the parts that he loves the best. He is trying to love his god the best way he can, and is trying to be the best person possible, but his efforts are misunderstood by more conventional believers. It is partly Pi's faith that keeps him going on the boat.

                Towards the end of Pi's journey, things start to get more surreal. As he appears to slip in and out of reality, you start to wonder whether the events that are being narrated are exactly as they appear. At the very end of the novel, things are turned completely on their head, and you find yourself left with what some would see as an unresolved ending but what I choose to see as the freedom to decide what happened for yourself.

                The best thing about this book, by far, is the humour. Despite the tension and the really low points that Pi reaches, the author weaves dry wit in and out of the narrative whenever possible. Throughout this book I was either laughing or crying about 70% of the time! The prose is really engaging and it just pulls you in to the story. The descriptions are perfect - whilst there's enough to give you a really vivid picture of the surroundings, you can also let your imagination loose a little bit.

                After reading this book I couldn't believe that I had ever found it boring! There are tons of books that I read when I was younger that I find myself wanting to pick up again now to see if I foolishly rejected other wonderful books. The story is rich and deep and funny, the prose is descriptive and magical, and the themes are fascinating. This is one of those books that you won't be able to put down. It's beautiful, and so much cleverer than it first appears.

                The price varies online but you can buy this for around £5-£7.

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                22.11.2011 19:25
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                An enjoyable read!

                As a university student in London about 10 years ago I used to have to travel on the tube everyday. I remember seeing a lot of commuters reading a book called Life of Pi whilst on the train. I'd always been puzzled by the title - I thought it would have something to do with Maths and despite being a scientist and quite mathematically minded a book about Maths for light reading just did not appeal.

                Fast forward to the present day, well a couple of months ago really. I was browsing through the Amazon Kindle top 100 list I spotted this book to download for free. Reading the blurb I was intrigued and decided to download this and give it a go.

                Life of Pi is written by Canadian author Yann Martel. It was published in 2001 and went onto win the Man Booker prize the following year. The book is a fantasy novel and tells the tale of a young boy called Piscine Molitor Patel or Pi for short. The first part of the novel is set in Pondicherry, India, where we are introduced to Pi and his family. It becomes immediately obvious that Pi is an intelligent and observant young boy who questions the world around him. He is also deeply spiritual, having a firm belief in God and finds solace in many different religions. Brought up in a Hindu family Pi also explores Islam and Christianity, eventually converting to both without his family's knowledge.

                Pi's father owns and runs Pondicherry zoo. However they decide to sell the animals, uproot and head to Canada for a better life. They loaded their worldly belongings onto a cargo ship, along with several animals that were heading for a zoo in Canada and set sail. A few days into their journey the ship has a mechanical failure of some sort and sinks. Pi is the sole human survivor, managing to scramble onto a lifeboat only to discover he has company. Several of the animals have also found their way onto the lifeboat including a hyena, monkey, zebra and a tiger called Richard Parker.
                A bloodbath inevitably follows leaving Richard the tiger and Pi to rough it out on the boat. Pi soon realises that in order to survive he needs Richard to survive. Can Pi train Richard to respect and fear him? I'll leave you to read the book and find out!

                Life of Pi was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and I'm pleased to report that it was not in the particularly mathematical! I found the book a little slow to begin with but after a few chapters it picked up pace. The chapters varied in length, some quite short at just a page or so long whilst others spanned several pages. None were too long though which meant that the book was easy to read in sections.

                The early part of the novel is set in Pondicherry and the description of Pi's life in India is charming and beautiful. I warmed to Pi straight away and found his inquisitive nature to be quite amusing, though at times I thought he did come across as a bit of an arrogant know it all. His dabbling in the various faiths really amused me, particularly as he tries so hard to hide this from his parents. However this all goes to pot in a scene, which I found absolutely hilarious. On a walk with his family he bumps into the imam, priest and vicar who happen to be taking a walk together and Pi's conversion to all three religions is revealed. They all try to convince Pi that he must choose one of the faiths to follow but Pi is drawn to different aspects of each faith.

                Once the shop sinks the novel really picks up pace and captured my imagination. I actually couldn't put the book down! Danger lurks at every turn be it through sharing the boat with a 450 pound Bengal tiger or floating in shark infested waters. I thought the story from this point onwards was very clever, witty and had many scenes, which made me chuckle and laugh out loud. Richard and Pi are marooned for several months which forces Pi to reflect and draw upon his belief and faith in God in order to survive.

                I also found the relationship between Pi and Richard fascinating and the psychological methods Pi used to train Richard. Martel is incredibly descriptive in his account of Pi's 227 days at sea recording every meal eaten, every knot tied and all the other mundane tasks in great detail. I must point out though that in places this novel is quite graphic and gory. Mantel does not spare any details - these parts were extremely descriptive and well written so be warned if you are queasy about such things.

                I did find one point in the novel quite confusing. After several months at sea Pi and Richard find themselves on an island in the middle of the Pacific. All seems well initially except that it turns out the island is carnivorous and so Richard and Pi quickly fled. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this section. Was it a dream? Was Pi hallucinating?

                The third part of the book turns the whole plot upside down and forces the reader to question the actual turn of events. Was Pi's interpretation of events real or just a figment of his imagination - a way for him to cope with the trauma of such a situation? I thought this was very clever and took the novel from just a simple fantasy tale into something much more.

                Overall, the Life of Pi was a compelling and captivating read. It held my attention throughout and I found myself racing through pages, eager to find out how the story progresses. It's one of the best books I've read in a while and is one of those types that I would gladly read again. Highly recommended.

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                  20.09.2011 00:03
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                  Buy it, borrow it, steal it, just read it!

                  This book was highly recommended to my by a friend. From the first page you can tell that is not your conventional kind of story. The tale charts the life of one Piscine Molitar Patel AKA Pi and in particular his woeful journey from Southern India to North America with just a Tiger for company!! The story builds up at a fast pace but the attention to detail the author has paid means that it is a vivid tale. You can literally picture all the scenery and feel all the emotions, tragedy and heartbreak that our hero goes through. You empathize with him. It is a tale of survival against all odds, a study of the human spirit. Pi does what he has to survive despite all his beliefs and the way he was brought up. He must travel across carnivorous swamps, super storms and the grueling sun. I hear someones finally making this into a movie and its about bloody time. It is going to be fabulous to see all these images I have in my head on screen. This book won the booker prize for the year it was released and it fully deserves it and more. One to read again and again.

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                    07.06.2011 16:04
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                    A brilliant read about a boy stranded in the middle of the Pacific with a Bengal tiger

                    I picked up this book in a local charity shop for two pounds and I think it's safe to say it is the best two pounds I have ever spent! Knowing very little about the book other than it had won the Man Booker and it is on the BBC list of books you must read I decided to give it a try. The ambiguous blurb offered very little to enlighten me but once I started reading it was impossible to put down! It is not often that (as a lover of Victorian classics) I find modern novels that are really engrossing but Life of Pi hooked me instantly and I was up until all hours turning pages. It tells the story of Pi, a fourteen year old Indian boy and his struggle to survive over 200 days stranded in a lifeboat in the Pacific after surviving a shipwreck. His only companions on his journey for survival are a zebra with a broken leg, an orang-utan, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger...all trapped together in a lifeboat. The plot is incredibly unpredictable and the story is beautifully written. You cannot help but sympathise with Pi in his bizzare predicament, yet laugh at the comic moments such as the attack of the flying fish! I would recommend this book one hundred times over to anyone who is looking for a truly impressive and touching read!

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                      14.04.2011 01:07
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                      well worth reading, i really did enjoy this book.

                      The rrp of this book is £7.99 and can be picked up in a huge range of book stores, but you probably will get this book for less. It was published in 2003 and so is pretty easy to find in second hand book shops, i picked mine up from a small second hand book shop called moss books for just £2, you could probably get it on Amazon for little more than the post and packaging. A fiction book by yann martel, which is 319 pages long, I like a book that isn't too short but wont take forever to read either so for me this was perfect. On reading the back of this book i was extremely intrigued, the story line is so shocking it will grab any ones attention, this book is about a small Indian boy stuck on a life boat with a hyena, a zebra, an orang-utan and a 450 pound Bengal tiger....a captivating story which has your eyes glued to the pages as your wondering what tragedy will next occur.

                      Teenager pi lived with his mum, dad and brother, and his father owned a zoo, it was on moving away from India and taking the animals as well in order to sell to different zoos (who ever gave the best offer) that disaster struck. Simply absorbing, this book starts with a long introduction which gets you very attached to the main character, telling you of his life and experiences, i find this means that you care more what happens to him later in the book. Pi is an intriguing character who's gentleness and open mindedness makes him very likeable, I think this book in this sense if extremely well written. The descriptions of how he felt and what he sees really does suck you in, as if you are experiencing it for yourself, and what is an unbelievable and somewhat ridiculous scenario is written in a way which actually makes you believe and accept that it could happen, which i was moderately surprised at. There are parts in this book which will make you want to smile with how beautiful it sounds, and parts that will make you cringe in disgust, the emotive language will bring the story to life.

                      This book is written beautifully, a new favourite of mine. Although i did find that it skipped back and forwards in time periods and places, and this sometimes confused me, but it only took a moment to catch up and realise what was going on, still, i would have preferred subheadings stating when it was now on the past or future. This is only a small criticism about this book, and i did not find it effected my enjoyment of the book much at all. There was an extremely imaginative part near the end concerning something pi stumbles upon in his time lost at sea which I really did love, I found it fascinating to read about, a really brilliant book and brilliant story. However, there was another part near the end that i felt was an unnecessary part of the story, and was the only time i felt that the believability was impaired dramatically, but considering the huge unbelievable nature of the story line i hardly consider this a criticism, and since this is a fiction book you would hardly expect it to be completely believable. Well worth buying, well worth reading, brilliantly written, imaginative, original, and completely absorbing, i found it difficult to put this book down, my only real problem with It was that I found it seemed to tell you at the beginning how it was going to end, which to me took away some of the excitement when reading.

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                      25.03.2011 18:53
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                      Imaginative and fantastic

                      My sister lent me this book after she read it as she thought it was really good. Written by Yann Martel, Life of Pi is an imaginative fictional story of a boy shipwrecked on a lifeboat with a tiger, which won a Man Booker Prize.

                      ~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
                      Written in three parts and in one hundred chapters, the story begins with a comprehensive introduction of Piscine Patel (nicknamed Pi), his family, his zoo and his religion. Following a tragic wrecking of the cargo ship him and his family was on, on their move to Canada, Pi finds himself stranded on a lifeboat, his only companions being a Bengal Tiger, a chimpanzee, a zebra and a hyena.

                      The story creates fantastical relationships between the creatures which is immensely original and fascinating. The intrigue of the animal interactions last through a majority of the book, the multitude of which really surprises you and just when you think all the possibilities are exhausted, there's more!

                      The first part of the book was rather dull (but informative), whilst the second part is exciting and really intriguing. I wished they'd started with the second part as that is truly gripping. I nearly gave up with the beginning but only managed to get through it after being spurred on by my sister. Had they done that, they could have inserted segments of the first part during his shipwreck days, his dreams and his euphoria.

                      Despite the slow start, the book is well structured and many themes are explored, such as animal-animal relationships, niches and animal psychology, along with subtle religious themes and finally the way we see our world and our appreciation of life, truth and fascination.

                      Whilst what happens to Pi he reveals early on, the way in which it happens and the things he does in order to survive is shocking- the extremely detailed descriptions of cannibalism and brutality does repulse, showing just how desperate he was.

                      The ending explores our imagination and how we see the world around us. I like that it draws the focus away from the events of the shipwreck and centre on the themes and messages. In this way, the book is laid out with a clear aim and purpose, which doesn't fail to entertain.

                      ~~~OVERALL~~~
                      This book is extremely fantastical and you would never expect to read and be so fascinated about animal behaviour, yet so believable. Despite the dull beginning (which you will want to read again after the whole book), the second part truly captivates unlike any other novel, making it a must read.

                      Plus, they are making a movie adaptation of the novel, so best get to reading this before it is released!
                      The book can be purchased for around £5 in store and online.

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                        25.06.2010 11:49
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                        Life of Pi is the book of a lifetime.... You'll never forget it!

                        Well, I got this book because it came recommended by a friend who was a little too enthusiastic about it. But after reading it, I can see where that enthusiasm came from!

                        This is a book that follows the life of an Indian boy, Pi Patel, as told by his older self. The book is in two parts. The first part tells of his life in India, running up to the pivot moment of the story; the sinking of the ship he was travelling on.

                        Pi's parents run a zoo in India. They decide to relocate to Canada, and load the ship with most of their animals. Then, in the middle of the ocean, the ship sinks. Pi is thrown into a life raft, apparently to save him, but it turns out he is to placate a Bengal Tiger. Hebasically ends up sharing a life raft with a Bengal Tiger, an Urangutan, a Zebra and a Hyena. The story unfolds into a sturuggle for survival; not only against the elements but against the Tiger. Pi has to endure extreme hardship, mental torment and the possibility of being mauled by a Bengal Tiger. He is led to eat turtles and fish, raw, after living a vegetarian life. Eventually, he is washed ashore in Mexico, when he is taken to hospital and quizzed by police.

                        Part two contains the best, most amazing twist in the history of literature! But I can't say what it is. Just that it will shattered the illusion you previously had reading the book.....

                        I know I have been vague in my description, but this really is a book that could so easily be spoiled. It's a gripping book, which leave you wanting more after you put it down. In fact, congrats if you can put it down! It's a very well written book. Martel's style is vivid, and really brings the story and characters to life. Martel keeps you hanging on every word, and doesn't waste time with useless and pointless information. You never get bored reading the book. The only downside is that once you know what the twist at the end is, you probably won't read the book again. It's like a well kept secret; great to hear, but not so great to hear it again.

                        This is a truly special book. Very well written, captivating, and with an amazing twist at the end. Surely this is the greatest story ever told!

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                        22.06.2010 21:13
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                        A really good yarn

                        I bought this book in paperback from Waterstones on a three for two offer, so you could say it was free or it was very cheap, however it is available for 5.99GBP at Waterstones or 4.00GBP on Amazon.

                        This is the debut book from Yann Martel and is a pretty good read all in all. The book is the story of Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, Pi is caught on a small boat at a very young age and survives on the shipwreck for a number of days with some strange and perplexing ship mates in the Pacific Ocean.

                        Pi is the son of a zookeeper and the boat is filled with animals being relocated, when the boat capsizes, Pi is left with some very dangerous and interesting animals as compatriots on the boat.

                        The story follows the adventures of Pi and the animals, will he survive, will they survive, will the situation cause predatory animals to behave naturally or will the experience make them look out for each other.

                        In many ways the questions are hyphothetical, spiritual and aimed at much at mankind as at animals, the story is an elegant, well written tale which makes you question life and human behaviour, some have compared it to Paulo Coehlo´s ´The Alchemist´but personally I see these as two entirely different things, I preferred this story and found the ending interesting and slightly dissatisfying at the same time.

                        The cover is elegant, the story well told with a sympathetic young hero and a story which will entertain children as well as adults although they may struggle to spot some of the undertones within the story.

                        I would definitely recommend this as a holiday read or something for the train, its enthralling, has a good story, good characters and builds up to a decent if not great ending.

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                          10.02.2010 19:59
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                          This really is a book for everyone and it's even worth reading more than once.

                          Wow. I read this book on recommendation from a friend and was blown away. Initially, I had not expected too much from it and had put off buying the book until I was finally convinced by some competitive prices at my local supermarket. I think I bought this book as a paperback for under £5. I remember studying the picture on the front cover to see if it gave anything away about the story. I am quite a lazy person and not easily motivated to read or watch something until I know what it's about. Movies are easy; you can watch a trailer and decide if you would like to digest the whole film after tasting that first little clip. Books, however, are a lot more difficult to get a feel for. Well, judging by the dolphins, boat, tiger and foetal-positioned person on the cover of this book, it was virtually impossible to imagine what was held inside. I guess I would actually have to read it.

                          I know you can usually tell, after failed attempts to summarise a book from it's front and back cover, a lot about a book by it's first page. That is always my second port of call- try reading it and see if you like it. I mean, we all know the first few lines of a book are the most important; what really draw us, hook us and make us interested. Well, this book certainly does not start in a way that predicts how it will end or even progress.

                          We begin with the story of Pi. Pi, short for 'Piscine Molitor Patel', was named after a swimming pool in France. There is a charming and funny little story to this and it is all quite enjoyable to read. But what does it have to do with the story?

                          You may find, there is a huge contrast in this book and as you read to the end, you'll notice how dramatically the story changes. We go from light-hearted humour, descriptions of family life and thoughts on religion, to the darkest depth of the ocean, the lost panic and strive for survival, the unbelievable stories and stretches of your imagination. We follow a story reminiscent of Noah's Ark (there is some subtle religious referencing throughout this book, but in a very spiritual way). We finish with a dark interpretations of innate survival, of moral dilemma, of human nature.

                          This book will take you on a fantastical journey, with Pi, a little boy from Pondicherry, India, across the ocean, in a boat with a tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orang-outang and will drop you off on the shores of reality, dreaming of the substance-less stretches of sea blue you once knew and the meerkat island heaving with life in the middle of a vast ocean.
                          Definitely worth a read because I'm not going to tell you what it's about!

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                          22.11.2009 11:39
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                          Fantastic, joyful tale of a boy and his animals

                          Didn't everyone just rave on and on about this book after it won the Booker Prize in 2002? Everywhere you went you would bump into people who would tell you it was 'just incredible' and 'life-changing' and 'fascinating'. For this reason, I delayed reading the book until very recently. And I wish that I had picked it up far earlier when the band wagon was there to be jumped on - as I now find myself evangelising about it to people in the street in the same annyoing way that people would do to me before.

                          The story follows Piscine (Pi for short), a teenage boy, who escapes from a cargo ship on a life raft after the cargo ship he was travelling in was sunk. In the life raft with him is a hyena, a wounded zebra, a orang-utan and a Bengal tiger. Once rescued, he tells his story which appears so fabulous that the doctors are loathe to believe a word he says, yet by the same token, have no alternative explanation as to how he could have survived.

                          Written with humour, and subtlty it is easy to see why this book was so widely appauded. Yann is Spanish-born but currently resides in Canada. Life of Pi is his thrid book, and certainly his most successful, making him the darling of Canongate almost overnight.

                          A genuinely fascinating, original and hilarious novel suitable for adult readers as well as bright young teens (13+)*

                          *I add the ages here as I do think the subject matter and style tend to make people shy away of recommending this to children - but my teenage sons have all read the book and enjoyed it, and gone on to recommend it to their peers.

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